Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes May Dramatically Cut the Risk of Stroke
A recent study from Finland suggests that eating fruits and vegetables - in particular tomatoes, which are rich in the compound lycopene - may cut the risk of stroke by up to 55%.
Participants in the study included 1,031 men between the ages of 46 and 65. The researchers followed the men's health over the course of 12 years. Within that time period, 67 men suffered from strokes.
When the researchers looked specifically at the association between blood levels of lycopene and stroke, they found that, for the men with the lowest levels of lycopene, 25 out of 258 had strokes. In the group with the highest levels of lycopene, 11 out of 259 had strokes.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, Lapland Central Hospital, and the University Hospital of Kuopio. It was published on October 9, 2012, in the journal Neurology.
Previous studies have shown that lycopene may have a positive effect on heart health, bone health, and skin health.
If you want to increase lycopene levels you may want to consider taking a lycopene supplement, or increasing your consumption of red-pigmented foods such as tomatoes, peppers and papayas.
Certain diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are also high in lycopene. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, and healthy oils, such as those found in fish, olives, and nuts.